Quails Roasted with Grapes and Pistachios

From Matthew Altizer

2013 May/Jun

Serve this dish with a simple salad of mixed greens dressed with lemon juice and olive oil along with a big platter of buttery couscous.

Ingredients:

  • 8 quails
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 T. olive oil
  • 4 T. butter
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with salt
  • 2 T. ginger, grated and squeezed, juice reserved
  • 1 c. seedless green grapes
  • 1/2 c. verjus* (available at specialty food stores)
  • 1 T. honey
  • 2 T. finely chopped parsley
  • 2 T. pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450°F. Season the birds generously with salt and pepper; set aside. Place a large heavy-bottomed, ovenproof saucepan over high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the quails and fry them for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally until golden brown on most sides.

Add the butter to the pan followed by the garlic, ginger and juices, grapes, verjus and honey. Stir the quails to coat with the butter mixture. Put the quails in the oven and roast them for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are just cooked through. Let the birds rest for 5 minutes, then taste the sauce for seasoning. Serve with the sauce, garnished with parsley and pistachios. Serves 4 as a main, 8 as a starter.

*Verjus is the sour juice squeezed from unripe grapes, a by-product of wine making with an excellent, subtle acidity.